Study: US- Mexico Border Now Most Dangerous Land Crossing in World

Study: US- Mexico Border Now Most Dangerous Land Crossing in World

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Fifty-three people died and another 16 were hospitalized after a tractor-trailer full of migrants was abandoned in San Antonio, Texas last week. The tragedy highlighted a growing trend of migrant deaths in the Americas.

The United States - Mexico land border is now the most dangerous land crossing in the world, according to a study by the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Missing Migrants Project (MMP), Sputnik reported.

At least 728 migrants have died making the trek from Mexico to the United States, an increase of 52% from 2020. That number makes up the majority of the 1,238 migrant deaths that were reported in all of the Americas in 2021, the highest number since the MPP started tracking migrant deaths and disappearances in 2014.

But even that ghastly number is likely underreported, the study’s authors say. That is because an unknown number of dead migrants are never found or reported as missing.

“Our data shows the growing crisis of deaths during migration in the region, and the need to strengthen the forensic capacity of the authorities to identify deaths on these routes,” explained Edwin Viales, the lead author of the IOM study. “We cannot forget that every single number is a human being with a family who may never know what happened to them.”

The study was released less than a week after the discovery of a tractor-trailer in San Antonio, Texas, that was filled with over a hundred migrants, 53 of whom died after temperatures in the area soared to 103 F. That incident increased the number of migrant deaths along the United States - Mexico border to 493 in 2022 so far, putting this year on track to surpass even 2021.

While the land route is dangerous, traveling by sea is not much better. The study notes that at least 67 migrants have died traveling maritime routes between the Caribbean and the United States. That number is also likely underreported due to the number of vessels lost at sea that are never found.

Authorities attempt to identify the country of origin of dead migrants, but more often than not they are unable to. Over 500 of the deaths reported since the start of 2021 have an unknown country of origin.

While the economic crisis in Venezuela is cited as one cause of the increase in migrant activity, it is the border policies of the destination countries that the MPP points to as the primary culprit in the rise in migrant deaths.

“These deaths and disappearances are related to the lack of options for safe and regular mobility, which increases the likelihood of migrants opting for irregular migration pathways that put their lives at risk,” the executive summary of the studies states.

The Biden administration has been attempting to end Title 42, a Trump-era COVID-19 prevention policy that prevented asylum seekers from entering the country while they wait for their cases to be heard. However, multiple states have sued the federal government, delaying the policy’s cessation.

That and other strict border policies have forced migrants to seek alternative, more dangerous routes.

The study’s executive summary ends with a plea to governments to do something to prevent the deaths of migrants.

“States must honor their commitments … to save migrant lives and prevent further deaths and disappearances.”

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